Air Race

An air-borne adventure story.

Based on the true story of the 1919 London to Australia air race. Air Race follows the stories of the six flight teams who took up the challenge. From crash landings, to disappearing planes and patching engines with chewing gum, their stories range from ingenious, to hilarious to deeply moving and sometimes tragic.

Air Race tells a remarkable untold Australian story but also challenges us to question – how can we tell white, male Australian history in an innovative way, relevant to diverse young Australians?

Subverting outdated gender and cultural representations, Air Race aims to enable all young Australians to see stories they can identify with, find inspiration in and allow them to ‘own’ their country’s history.

Air Race is a work about impossibilities. It is an impossible adventure that is almost impossible to tell. It is only through incredible ingenuity combined with irrational determination that the adventure could happen. Tackling this as a theatre work will require a similar approach. 

Directed by Christian Leavesley and written by Dan Giovannoni, Air Race is a new theatrical work for young audiences aged 10 and above and their families. 

Air Race will premiere at The Capital Theatre from 27th November to 1st December 2018. 

Creative Development

Arena undertook two creative developments of Air Race in 2017 and one in 2018. 


Director Christian Leavesley, Marg Horwell and Assistant Director Jolyon James spent a week developing the 'world' of Air Race, particularly workshopping ideas of design and 'flight'. Writer Dan Giovannoni pitched in with contributions overnight from Europe. 


Development 2 focused on the script for Air Race. Writer Dan Giovannoni, Director Christian Leavesley and a team of actors spent two weeks investigating each of the flight teams adventures. Arena would like to thank Emily Taylor, Simone French, Markus McKenzie and Hamish Irvine and MTC Literary Director Chris Mead and Stage Manager Lisette Drew for all their work.


Development 3 delved deeper into the script development and set ideas. Arena would like to thank actors Simone French, Hamish Irvine, Taylee Fereday and Sonya Suares & Kyrilee Bodin for stage managing. 

Presenting and Touring Opportunities

For more information or to discuss presenting and touring opportunities please contact Executive Director Sharon Custers: 



Director Christian Leavesley

Writer Dan Giovannoni

Dramaturg Chris Mead

Assistant Director Jolyon James

Development Performers Emily Taylor, Simone French, Hamish Irvine, Marcus McKenzie, Sonya Suares, Tahlee Fereday

Executive Director Sharon Custers


Arena gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australia Council for the Arts and Melbourne Theatre Company through the Australia Council MPA Collaborative Arts Projects Grant towards the development of Air Race. 

Arena gratefully acknowledges the support of the Besen Family Foundation towards the development of Air Race.